South Korea Fines Google, Meta US$71.7 Million for Violating Personal Data Protection Laws


South Korea has imposed a combined fine of 100 billion won ($71.7 million) on Google and Meta (banned in Russia as an extremist organization) for violating the protection of personal data laws, the Yonhap news agency reported on Wednesday, citing law officials.

The Personal Information Protection Commission (PIPC) of South Korea decided on the measures against the media platforms in a general meeting earlier in the day, the report said.

Google was fined 69.2 billion won and Meta was fined 30.8 billion won for collecting personal information without users’ consent and using it for personalized online advertising and other purposes. The commission also ruled that the media giants need to clearly ask of users’ consent if they collect behavior data on websites or applications outside of their own platforms.

Over 82% of Google users and 98% of Meta users in South Korea had their behavior data on platforms outside of Google and Meta exposed to illegal data collection, the commission found. Additionally, South Koreans were unaware of such data collection as their consent to this procedure was a default setting in Google since at least 2016. Similarly, Meta has not received users’ consent since 2018.

Google expressed regret over the situation and stated that it will continue to work with authorities on the protection of South Korean users’ privacy, while Meta said that it cannot agree with the commission’s decision and will review the possibility of a legal fight, according to the report.

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